Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chicago Part 6 of 8 - Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is located in Chicago, Illinois, USA in Jackson Park, in the Hyde Park neighborhood adjacent to Lake Michigan. It is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Initially endowed by Sears, Roebuck and Company president and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, it first opened in 1933 during the Century of Progress Exposition. It is also the largest science museum in the western hemisphere.

Among its diverse and expansive exhibits, the Museum features a working coal mine, a German submarine (U-505) captured during World War II, a 3,500-square-foot (330 m2) model railroad, the first diesel-powered streamlined stainless-steel passenger train (Pioneer Zephyr), and a NASA spacecraft used on the Apollo 8 mission.

Based on 2009 attendance, the Museum of Science and Industry was the third largest cultural attraction in Chicago.  

We took CTS Bus Number 10 from Michigan Ave down to the Museum.  This was a very pleasant 30 minute ride.

The wheels on the bus....
We paid a few dollars extra to take the U-505 tour and it was well worth it.  An amazing story.

U-505 photo courtesy of Wiki
German submarine U-505 was a Type IXC U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. She was captured on 4 June 1944 by United States Navy Task Group 22.3 (TG 22.3). Codebooks and other secret materials from U-505 assisted Allied code breaking operations. She is one of six U-boats that were captured by Allied forces during World War II, and one of four large German World War II U-boats that survive as museum ships.

All but one U-505 crewman was rescued by the Navy task group. The submarine was towed to Bermuda in secret, and her crew was interned at a US prisoner of war camp where they were denied access to International Red Cross visits. The Navy classified the operation as top secret and managed to prevent its discovery by the Germans.

After spending nearly a decade at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, U-505 was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. As of 2010 U-505 is a museum ship, kept indoors in a climate controlled environment to prevent corrosion.

View of the sub from a high viewing perch
Another exterior view
We were allowed to take pictures on the outside but nothing on the inside.  There were also exhibits of the sub.

Officer's bunk

Stores brought on board for a 90 day cruise for 60 men
Simulation of the kitchen.  Three burners to cook for 60 men round the clock
A huge lightening display on the ceiling - totally cool
Van de Graff generator
An exhausting day!  And we probably didn't see half of what the Museum had to offer.

Part 7 here


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